A wish came true for a 13-year-old Hoschton girl thanks to national charity Kids Wish Network and the local Woodmen of the World-Winter Lodge #1395.
Before Julia Walker was born, doctors informed her mother that things didn’t seem normal. Baby Julia had a low heart rate and after an emergency C-section, doctors told Julia’s mother, Victoria, to expect the worst.
Julia was put on various machines and miraculously beat the odds. She spent the first 20 months of her life in the hospital where she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, microencephaly and a seizure disorder. Julia relies on a wheelchair for mobility and struggles to gain weight and keep her body temperature regulated. She constantly battles bouts of pneumonia and has to be monitored at all times.
Despite all her struggles, Victoria said that Julia is a resilient, affectionate girl.
When Victoria received a phone call from Kids Wish Network informing her thatJulia had been referred for a wish by her grandmother, Victoria was surprised. After filling out the application and being told that Julia qualified, it was time to confirm the wish.
“Julia is non-verbal so her wish was confirmed through her speech therapist and her communication devices,” Victoria said. “She doesn’t see very well because she is cortically visually impaired but we held up a picture of a castle and played ‘The Little Mermaid’ song and then we held up a picture of a big boat and played ocean sounds. She always hit the switch that said ‘that’s the one I want’ for the Disney stuff.”
Julia was assigned a wish coordinator who prepared everything for the trip. Kids Wish Network took care of all the arrangements including flights, accommodations, dinners, attractions and spending money for Julia and her family.
While there, the family visited the Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Sea World. Victoria said Julia loved the rides at the theme parks.
“Magic Kingdom was Julia’s favorite park. For some weird reason she really liked the Buzz Lightyear ride. She also liked Peter Pan and the pirates dinner,” she said. “She was vocalizing and making noises at the pirates dinner, which is really rare for her.”
Julia met many characters while on her wish including Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Winnie the Pooh and Lilo and Stitch. Victoria said it was a wonderful experience for her.
“It was really impacting for her,” her mother said. “I could see that. I really hadn’t seen something like that before. The best part for me we were all together and we were a family and there were no boundaries. Everybody was having fun. There was something for everybody. That was the best part.”
Victoria said it was a great experience she was thankful to be a part of.
“It was perfect. It was beyond my expectations,” she said.
Kids Wish Network thanked Woodmen of the World-Winder Lodge #1395, Royal Plaza Hotel, California Pizza Kitchen, Pirates Dinner Theater, Wonderworks, Miller’s Ale House, Discount Mobility, and Disney World Compassion Program for making Julia’s trip possible.